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What Is Mine by Anne Holt


It is nearly one month to the day since I've posted a review. Tomorrow it will be exactly one month. I don't know what happened. I've had a review ready for a while, and I just haven't posted. In the meantime I read another book or two. I've read The Angel Makers by Jessica Gregson. I just finished it a couple days ago. It was very hard to find, and I finally broke down and bought a used copy on amazon. Other than the many typos, it was a good read. But that's not the book I'm reviewing.

What Is Mine by Anne Holt is the first in a series. When I started reading it, I swore I read somewhere that it was the first of a trilogy, but upon further investigation after finishing it and reserving its follow up, I found out that it is not a trilogy. In the follow up the two characters are married. What? They weren't even dating yet at the end of What Is Mine! Anyway. I digress.

What Is Mine is from a highly acclaimed Norwegian crime writer-- I believe Holt was an attorney and has spent time as a minister in Norwegian government, and she has lived in the U.S. This makes me think she could have written the book in English rather than writing it in Norwegian before the publisher had it translated into English for American consumption. I usually have a strict policy against reading translations of novels. It's one of many quirks I have when it comes to reading. I always feel like something gets lost between the novel in its original language and its English translation.

Spring has just arrived in Norway and with it has come a dangerous and scary string of crimes: a girl is abducted and then a few days later a young boy is taken; a few days following this, the boy is returned--dead and wrapped up like a gift--to his parents. The boy's corpse is accompanied by a chilling message: now you've got what you deserve. Several days later another girl disappears off a city bus and is soon couriered in a box back to her mother with the same message attached. The string of child murders continues as the citizens of Norway panic over the safety of their children.

The police struggle with an investigation that yields few leads, less forensic evidence and a mysterious and unknown cause of death for the dead children whose parents are not connected in any way. Detective Inspector Adam Stubo is leading the investigation into the abductions when he sees Johanne Vik commenting on the case on TV. Stubo decides to enlist her reluctant help in building a profile of the killer. It's clear there's a slowly building tentative romance between these two; however, both Stubo and Vik are unable to and clueless about how to make the first move to get it started.

Vik, a lawyer with a B.A. in psychology and experience working for the FBI likes her life the way it is--her young daughter is finally healthy, and she's researching another book. This one addresses the effects the media has on criminal cases while they're tried in court. Soon she becomes entangled in a decades old case: a man, who always maintained his innocence, was tried and convicted of murdering an eight year old girl a half century ago while the evidence against him was shaky at best. Nearly a decade into his incarceration he's released without explanation or fanfare and told to keep his mouth shut. What is the mystery surrounding these circumstances and are they related to the current child abductions?

I mentioned before that this was an English translation from the original Norwegian. The main place this shows up is in the abundance of ellipses in the dialog-- is this on purpose? Is it a function of the translation? How am I supposed to interpret this? To me ellipses connote hesitation and tentativeness and after a while this gets annoying. However, the story itself is a page turner of short chapters (I love short chapters) that alternate viewpoints. The developments are fast paced and gripping making this a heart pounding, suspenseful mystery.

This novel is available in county; if you enjoy a good mystery, you should try this one. Crime novel lovers will also like this novel.

--Reviewed by Ms. Angie

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